Supporting the Shoot – Working as a Supporting Artist
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If you failed to get on camera, hopefully this year offers more opportunities to be on set. If there's one thing you learn as a supporting actor (SA) or as an extra, you have to prepare for some strange and varied work environment – whether you're soaked in fake blood and latex scars, playing a zombie in a zom. com or a wand wielding fairy in a fantasy short film.

Some recordings are quite normal, e.g. B. Company shots where you have to wear your real office attire, wear suits, officially walk around with a laptop and mimic your phone not ringing. Other shoots are lovably crazy and you are in your chicest outfit, portraying guests of the art gallery or playing wedding guests standing in castles for Bollywood.

You may be asked to dress up in 1970s gyms in school halls that represent American classrooms (hopefully your parents won't mind you robbing their mothballed closets). If you have any outfits, that will help play a creepy cop in a silent comedy, a mad scientist in a medical lab, or a horror nurse in an abandoned hospital.

I managed to play the girlfriend of a vampire in a white feather boa and silver glittery shoes, playing a good girl who supports the bar at the fancy dress ball of the bloodsuckers while exotic dancers and gangsters planned the evil around me. I was a rioter in a replica version of 10 Downing St in a thriller and a protester in a dystopian future in central London in a thriller.

Or you could play members of A masked, glamorous Glitterati, who likes to meet illegally in an underground club to "drink", to pretend to write a few lines and bet on Bareknuckle Cagefight Death Match …. If only real life was that interesting!

Working as an SA offers many advantages. It's always interesting to hear some great horror stories, network, trade details for someone looking for one of your other jobs, and of course there is always great food in Bollywood.

There are, of course, downsides to being an SA. You work in difficult physical conditions, both hot and cold. In January you may be shivering in front of an empty coffin in an unheated church and crying artistic "tears" from rose water over the untimely death of a fictional gangster. In the summer, you may be chosen to sit on London's Oval Cricket Ground in the brilliantly hot sunshine and cheer for an imaginary noon cricket match until your colleagues pass out from heat stroke.

SAs are expected to be well versed in early starts and late ends in the day's work. Your daily chores may be to take a bus at 6:30 am to go to a castle in Kent, change behind a tent or in a portal, have the MUA dye your hair gray to make you look older , and standing in the scorching sun drinking warm lemonade (stands for champagne). Twelve hours later, you'll be driven back to London to hop on a night bus and get a few hours of sleep before starting your job – before you find that your hair is still steel gray and your employees are trying not to stare! It's all part of the fun.

Another downside is that you may experience payment delays that you will have to chase after. The role is often for love, rather than the money, and it is very likely that you will cut off the floor of the room.

One of my favorite sets is a party extra. You'll find yourself in splendor, dancing to non-existent music and enthusiastically toasting other extras with more warm lemonade. And there's always the possibility that someone in a rush to stock up on more propeller drinks accidentally opens one of the propeller bottles to get this ready … and accidentally opens a real bottle of champagne. Then you need to drink soupy warm Bollinger without blinking an eye. Not that either of us complained!

Have these outfits ready when shooting conditions ease and stand by for the director's "action".


About Nina Romain

Nina Romain is living proof that young Alabama kids shouldn't be treated like sugared little ghouls in the 1980s – they tend to be obsessed with the creepier side of Halloween! Her horror shorts are typically shot half on the sour side of Los Angeles and half on the darker side of the UK, including the UK's "busiest" village at Fright Corner.

This year she advertised on a Covid-safe Rom-Com and created three microshort horrors. These range from a short film from LA to a Valentine's Day in an abandoned zoo going terribly wrong, to a pandemic nightmare in Lockdown London ( and finally a party nobody goes early … or lives. More information is available at:


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